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Using land-line phone service inside Colombia is difficult and confusing for most International visitors, especially visitors that do not read or speak Spanish.
Mobile phones are much easier and way more convenient.
Most hotels charge extra for use of room phones for local calls, and an outrageous price for international calls, plus you must be in the room to receive a call. If you are not in the hotel when the call comes in, you will be lucky to receive half your messages, at any hotel.
The best service for any international visitor or tourist needing phone service is to purchase a cheap mobile phone with pre-pay service . You can buy phone cards to recharge your minutes on almost every street corner. The three main mobile phone carriers in Colombia are OLA , Movistar , and Comcel . I prefer Comcel. They have about 60% of the business. All three carriers charge more when you dial another carrier or land-line, and less when you dial within the same carrier's list of customers. Over half of my collection of phone numbers are Comcel Numbers, over half of my calls are to other Comcel numbers; therefore, it cost less over time. An inexpensive phone cost about 50,000 to 70,000 pesos, currently (May 14, 2006) about $30 to $50 US. The money and time you save will pay for the phone. The convenience and security ...priceless!
One Hotel in Cali is now offering free use of mobile phones to guest while staying at their hotel. Guests may carry the phone with them anywhere; they need only to purchase phone cards for minutes. This is the way of the future; this hotel eliminated the need for Hotel room phones.
The least expensive way to call to any other country from Colombia is use the Internet based phone service located in some Internet Café’s. For Example: Calling to USA from most Hotels in Colombia costs over $1 to $2 US per minute; Calling International from mobile phones: $ .50 to $1.50 per minute; Calling from Internet Phone Booth: About $ .20 to $ .30 per minute.